A former editorial staff of Businessday, Mr. Frank Uzuegbunam, has dragged his former employer to National Industrial Court in Lagos over unlawful non-remittance of his pensions fund and withholding commissions due to him on commercial transactions he carried out on behalf of Businessday during the period of his employment with the company. He is also demanding for his tax receipts and tax clearance certificates from the company.
In his statement of material facts, the claimant avers that he filed the suit because Businessday unlawfully failed to remit the deductions made from his monthly salary as well as their own contributions to his pension’s account in addition to withholding commissions he earned and diligently worked for. His many requests for amicable resolution of the issues were ignored by Businessday and the media company also ignored his lawyer’s pre-action protocol letter.
The claimant stated that the total remittance to his pension account by the company was less than 23 per cent, with over 77 per cent of his pension monies which were promptly deducted from his monthly salary unlawfully withheld by the company. The commissions due to him over some commercial transactions he carried out on behalf of the company remained unpaid despite reaching agreement severally with the company that he indeed deserved the payment. Also, the claimant stated that there is no proof that the PAYE tax deductions from his salary were in deed remitted to the Lagos State Inland Revenue.
In his suit marked NICN/LA/554/2019, the former editor, Businessday West Africa Energy Intelligence, asked the court to compel Businessday Media Limited to immediately pay him with no further delay his unremitted pensions fund and outstanding commissions amounting to N2.04 million. He is also demanding for the receipts of all his PAYE tax during his period of stewardship in the company as he is legally entitled to those documents and would need the tax documents in his other endeavors.
The claimant is asking that the payment of the amounts in question by the defendant should be done with accumulated interest. He is also requesting that Businessday Media should pay for aggravated damages at a quantum to be determined by the court for the stress and trauma caused him by the company’s unlawful refusal to remit his pensions which were promptly deducted from his monthly salary in addition to the non-payment of the commissions earned as agreed with the company, which was clearly stated in his employment letter.
Investigations reveal that this is not an isolated case as issues of non-payment of gratuity, unremitted pension and unpaid commissions are rampant in the media establishment despite the company’s avowed mantra of promoting global best business practices and corporate governance. It was also gathered that those who exited the company before the contributory pension scheme was introduced have tales of woes as their gratuities withheld for years have remained unpaid or in some preferential situations, released in such miserly piecemeal that it negated its objective.
The defendant is yet to enter a defence to the suit.